Clipper Mountain Wilderness

Located just south of the massive Mojave National Preserve, and now part of the Mojave Trails National Monument, the Clipper Mountains Wilderness is about 33,000 acres itself. Clipper Mountain itself rises to about 4600 ft. Many typical Mojave plants live on this relatively solo set of mountains such as Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) in the Creosote Bush scrub community.

Kangaroo Rats and Roadrunners (Geococcyx californianus) can be seen scurrying through desert shrubs. Kangaroo Rats can be found all over the Mojave and live on seeds from low bushes. They are known for their lack of intake of fresh water - deriving all of their needs from the liquid in seeds and concentrating their urine. Studies have demonstrated that Kangaroo Rats share their areas behaviorally with the similar Kangaroo Mice by mostly gathering seeds between plants, while thet Kangaroo mice gather their seeds under the plants instead.


Creosote Bush

Many animals make their burrows underneath creosote bushes, including Merriam's Kangaroo Rat and the federally threatened Desert Tortoise. The leaves and tiny seeds of this species are an important food source for rabbits, woodrats, mice, lizards and birds. The USFS has estimated that Creosote Bush covers 35 - 46 million acres in the southwest. A massive clonal colony of this plant was discovered in Lucerne Valley, CA.  Through radiocarbon dating it was placed at 11,700 years old, thus one of the oldest living things on earth and dubbed King Clone.

Creosote Bush shrub in the desert
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